I got a chance to visit the all new Harper Gallery in the South Loop today. I have to say it is a lot more interesting now that they have a clearer focus. Working with local jewelry designers, toy makers, and of course visual artists they have made a gallery that can be perused rather than just ran through real quick, which is exactly what it used to be.
Owner and operator Colleen Harper said she wished it didn't take so long to figure out how she wanted to run the space, but it seems she has found a wonderful, and broad niche that will no doubt attract designers, creative people and buyers of all kinds.
Colleen has brought on the awesome local king of Plushies and Vinyl toys, Shawnimals and they are the primary focus in Scarlett, a mini gallery inside Harper. Colleen has also got fine art hand color prints and sculptures by Jessie Smith-Larson and individual art action figures and paintings by Mr. Walters. The main Gallery space though is dominated by paintings from Clay Hamilton and John Kurtz. There are also photographs and two glass cases that house Jewelry by Etta Kostick, and Susan Elizabeth, as well as some pottery.
One thing that I need to mention is that there is such a focus on quality and creativity within Harper Gallery, there is a lot within the small South Loop space but to good effect. I don't think there was anything that stood out as being poorly made. That is impressive when you are dealing with jewelry designers and toy makers and then you can top that list off with fine artists. It is not easy to curate all of that together, much less organize it all within one space.